Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Daniel J. Witek charged with stealing documents from the Buffalo History Museum

A few days ago, federal authorities arrested Daniel Jude Witek, 50, and charged him with stealing approximately forty letters and postcards from the Buffalo History Museum's A. Conger Goodyear Papers collection and attempting to sell them to a New York City autograph dealer.  The theft came to light when the dealer contacted the Buffalo History Museum in an effort to verify that the sale was aboveboard.

Witek was a Buffalo History Museum volunteer, and the complaint against him filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York indicates that he also had ties to several Buffalo-area public libraries. He is known to have used two aliases:  Daniel Mountbatten-Witeck and Walter Payne.

Witek has been released on his own recognizance pending trial.  One of the conditions of his release is that he must not visit the Buffalo History Museum, several other Buffalo-area cultural heritage institutions, or "any public or private establishment where rare books are."

Private collectors and cultural heritage professionals who suspect that Witek may have stolen items from their collections should contact the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation at 716-856-7800.

For your convenience, here's the criminal complaint against Witek.  It's an interesting little document.

Criminal Complaint Against Daniel Jude Witek 2013-05-23 by blweddle

And here's the document outlining the conditions of Witek's pretrial release:

Daniel Jude Witek Conditions of Release 2013-05-24 by blweddle

Monday, May 27, 2013

SAA Records Management Roundtable hangout

On Friday, the Society of American Archivists' Records Management Roundtable (RMRT) sponsored a Google Hangout focusing on records management training and outreach.  Given that 2013 seems to be The Year l'Archivista Can't Get Her Act Together, it's probably not surprising that I neglected to post about this event in advance.  However, a recording of the hangout is readily available on YouTube -- and embedded above.

As is so often the case with Web-based training, the hosts ran into some technical difficulties.  Two of the people who were scheduled to take part in this hangout -- Dan Noonan (Ohio State) and Joanne Kaczmarek (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) -- were unable to participate and there were a few other hiccups along the way.  However, moderator Brad Houston (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) and panelists Peg Eusch (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Tom Wellman (Michigan State University) persevered and in the process shared some interesting information about creating and sustaining records management in sprawling, decentralized institutions.  Their insights will be of particular interest to records managers employed by public colleges and universities, but other archivists and records managers may also find them useful.

The participants also shared some resources that may be helpful to other archivists and records managers seeking to create records management training materials. Peg Eusch created the video above in order to convey basic records management information to University of Wisconsin-Madison employees who worked in distant offices or didn't have the time to attend in-person training.

Joanne Kaczmarek wasn't able to take part in the hangout, but Brad Houston shared the video she created to explain the basics of e-mail management to University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign staff (unfortunately, this video is not embeddable).

RMRT is planning to host future Google Hangouts and will publicize them via the RMRT blog. And in the unlikely event that I manage to get my act together, I'll post about them here.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Well played, Ms. Sanford

Many people destroy the deeply personal papers that chronicle their broken relationships. Jenny Sanford, the former First Lady of South Carolina, seems to be made of sterner stuff.

In June 2009, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, who had told aides that he was planning an Appalachian Trail hiking trip and would be out of touch for a few days, tearfully admitted that he had been having an extramarital affair and that he had actually been visiting his mistress in Argentina.  Sanford's marriage fell apart, and in 2010 Jenny Sanford published a best-selling memoir detailing her former husband's stinginess, emotional tone-deafness, and other defects.  The book -- at least according to the reviews I've read -- also makes it plain that, politically, the two were well-matched. Both Sanfords are staunch conservatives, and she was his closest adviser and his phenomenally effective congressional and gubernatorial campaign manager.

Mark and Jenny Sanford's post-divorce relationship is apparently pretty contentious.  Nevertheless, when Mark Sanford decided earlier this year that he would run in a special election for a congressional seat, he asked Jenny Sanford -- who is now an adviser to South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley -- to serve as his campaign manager.  She said no.

Much to everyone's surprise, a few weeks ago Mark Sanford -- who is now engaged to his former mistress -- won the special election.  And earlier this week, the College of Charleston made available to the public the Jenny Sanford Papers.  Sanford said that she donated her personal papers to the college in summer 2012 because she was moving and needed to downsize and because she thought they would be of interest to scholars of political campaigns and, in future years, her sons.

In addition to political materials, the Jenny Sanford Papers include letters that the Sanfords wrote to each other, a scrapbook that she created to celebrate their fifteenth wedding anniversary, and photographs and other materials documenting their public and private lives.

Jenny Sanford has not restricted access to any of this material. Every item in the collection is open to anyone who wishes to see it.